If you are looking for a great place to make memories with your family, look no further than the charming town of Eureka Springs in Northern Arkansas. Whether you are looking to get away for the weekend or planning a trip for spring break I’ve put together the ultimate Family Travel Guide to Eureka Springs.
Our kids recently had the week off for spring break, but due to work and sports schedules, we only had a few days to enjoy it. So, we decided to set off on an adventure close to home. Surrounded by the Ozark Mountains and only a 6-hour drive from Dallas, Eureka Springs is the perfect place to find outdoor adventure and fun.
Thanks to my friends at GMC we were able to explore new roads and adventure in Northern Arkansas in the comfort of the 2021 GMC Yukon AT4 4WD.
Where is Eureka Springs
This small town in Northwest Arkansas is anything but ordinary. Located in the Ozark Mountains it is known for its eclectic art, preserved Victorian buildings, and natural beauty.
Nestled in the hills this little town is quite unique. For example, there are no traffic lights inside the town and no two roads intersect. Instead, they wind around town with twists and turns up steep hills.
We were grateful for the tech and connectivity available in the GMC Yukon AT4, thanks to the Android Auto feature we were able to navigate through the winding streets and access several different apps straight from the car’s display screen.
Where to Stay in Eureka Springs
This town is full of history and charm and there are some really fun places to stay in or near Eureka Springs like treehouses, charming bed and breakfasts, cabins in the woods, and historic hotels.
While looking for places to stay I stumbled on the Crescent Hotel and was instantly intrigued. Noted as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel” with frequent ghost sightings and paranormal activity it sounded right up our alley for a weekend adventure. The 1886 Crescent Hotel is a gorgeous historic hotel that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time as soon as you arrive.
This full-service hotel features 72 rooms with upscale suites, resort activities, a hot tub, a swimming pool, and New Moon Spa & Salon. My kids loved all of the outdoor activities including ax throwing at the Frisco Club, the giant chessboard, and the 15 acres of gorgeous gardens and hiking trails.
It is important to note that the building is over 100 years old, which certainly adds to the charm of the place. But, if you want to stay in brand new accommodations with the latest decor and amenities this may not be the place for you.
What to Do in Eureka Springs
We found that there were plenty of things for our family to do and see in this small town and surrounding areas. Here is a list of some of our favorite activities we did while in Eureka Springs.
Explore Cosmic Cavern
Cosmic Cavern is located about 30 minutes outside of Eureka Springs and features a 9-foot soda straw, the longest known in the Ozarks, and 2 bottomless cave lakes. The tour is approximately a 1 hour and 15-minute walking tour in a balmy 64-degree underground cave. Our tour guide was so amazing. She was super informative and engaging with the kids and we loved learning more about this privately owned cave.
Take a Hike
Arkansas is known as the “The Natural State” full of mountains, valleys, dense woodland, and clear lakes and streams. We knew we wanted to spend a good chunk of time exploring the natural beauty around us so we planned several hikes.
Our first hike was the well-known Whitaker Point trailhead, which is about an hour’s drive away and well worth it. Even though it was foggy and rainy the view was incredible! I’m tempted to return sometime in the fall just to see how it all looks. Be sure to plan ahead, cell coverage can be sparse. Make sure you have a map in some way shape or form to get you there and back.
Next, we drove down the road a bit to the heart of the mountainous Buffalo River country. We were getting hungry after our first hike so we stopped in the Buffalo Outdoor Center for a snack and found the yummiest deli sandwiches. It was a great way to fuel up before we tackled the Big Bluff and Goat Trailhead.
If you are looking for an adventurous hike with breathtaking views then the Big Bluff is just your place. A 6-mile roundtrip hike this 550-ft tall bluff features narrow trails with the tallest sheer bluff between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains.
The GMC Yukon AT4 was the perfect vehicle for us to explore the natural beauty of Arkansas. Equipped with off-the-grid capabilities and adaptive suspension we enjoyed a smooth comfortable ride whether navigating rough terrain or hilly highways.
Appreciate the Art
The entire town of Eureka Springs is full of art exhibits, even outdoors. There are a number of different murals and unique sculptures that perfectly mesh with the old town charm of Eureka Springs. Our favorite spot was a once drab set of concrete stairs that now displays a gorgeous rainbow tree.
Admire Throncrown Chapel
This hidden chapel in the woods is definitely worth the drive to admire. The Thorncrown Chapel is an architectural wonder. Mostly made of glass this sparkling beauty is surrounded by beautiful rock formations and a canopy of trees. We were in awe of the peace and beauty of this place, and I can only imagine how breathtaking this chapel is in the height of the summer and fall!
Take a Tour
Whether you are looking to spot ghostly spirits on the famous Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour or learning about the history of Eureka Springs there is a tour for you.
The Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour takes place at the Crescent Hotel where you will learn about famous spirits like the cancer patient that needs help finding her room key, and a mystery patient in a white nightgown who usually appears in the luxury suites.
If haunted spirits aren’t your thing you can opt for the Eureka Springs Underground tour, which takes you to some underground locations where historical characters come to life and secrets get uncovered.
Wander Through Downtown
Historically, the town grew in popularity due to the waters which people believed had healing powers. The quaint downtown area is definitely worth wandering through to check out the many springs and to shop. Take the staircase up to Basin Spring for one of the prettiest views of the city.
Where to Eat in Eureka Springs
We had breakfast here our first morning here before we headed out to explore the Cosmic Cavern. The Stuffed French Toast was a crowd favorite. Stuffed with mascarpone cheese, freshly sliced strawberries, and real whipped cream the kids licked their plates clean!
This was another great spot for breakfast. Tucked away underground the atmosphere is cool and the standout sweet and savory options make it worth a stop. The portions were very generous which made it a great spot to fuel up before we headed out on our outdoor hike.
We stumbled on this dive our first night in town and to be completely honest I was a little skeptical as we pulled up to it. However, the food here was incredible. They specialize in BBQ and everything we ordered was delicious. I had the Nashville Fried Chicken sandwich with garlic aioli, slaw, pickles, and hot sauce and polished off every last bite!
After a long day of exploring and adventures, we were starving. We decided to try the SkyBar on the top floor of the Crescent Hotel and it hit the spot. The pizzas are huge and the kids loved the extra thick crust. We also heard great things about Red’s Pizzeria, but after a long day, we were glad we stayed at the hotel where the kids could crash right after dinner.
Other places that were highly recommended to us were Ermilio’s, Grotto Wood Fired Grill, and Oscar’s. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get into any of these places, I would highly recommend making reservations prior to your visit.
It’s safe to say we loved exploring this charming little town and the surrounding area. There are lots of things to do in Eureka Springs that are sure to spark adventure and curiosity.